Transport Safety: Car-Jacking
The modernization of roads within the Sub-Saharan Africa within the last decade has left a lot to be admired. Development of infrastructure in the horn of Africa; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and even Ethiopia, thus economic growth. Kenya being a case study, has birthed a new modern look unlike the 90’s.
Signage across the highways, creation of road transport authority bodies and reforms done within this sector is clearly an indication of where this country coming of age .Routine mornings &Evenings within the city are normally lighted up, yes! Police officers are seen across the city round-about and Highway links interchanges conducting traffic whilst the local ‘touts ‘are seen collecting transportation fares from the matatus. Well this is Africa, and this has been our story for quite some time, but we are slowly getting out of it. So the question beckons, Are we safe in these roads? Let’s have an in-depth look at Car-jacking.
Carjacking in the 21st century is a form of organized crime that is slowly becoming a normal phenomena. South Africa has reported the highest rate of carjacking in the world , and even had various short films to showcase its menace, other countries in the world include USA, United Kingdom and Australia. Let’s look at Kenya. Due to urbanization, carjacking has been on the rise in most cities in the country; Mombasa & Nairobi. The magnanimity of this act can be seen every day from our local dailies.
Recent reports indicate Nairobi averaging ten vehicle hijackings per day. So it being an organized crime clearly depicts it not to having normal petty offenders. Now do we know the meaning of organized crimes? Criminology defines it as crimes that are propagated by high level coordinated syndicate of criminals. Who in many times are classified as politically motivated. These are the types of crimes offering dangerous threats to common citizens in our country. And recent scaling reports in crime charts reflect on how much we need to be aware of our personal safety in our roads.
Various criminological theories have been able to shade light on how this vice tends to materialize. Social learning theory and routine activity theory depict on how such crimes occur. Scientifically; Routine activity theory, is predicated on the parallel by two major attributes ; suitable victim and absence of a guardian; The theory explains that such crimes tend to happen due to offenders encountering easy suitable targets within their areas.
Proper example happens every day where victims tend to be vulnerable, creating an enabling environment for such crimes. How can this be seen? Driving in deserted roads, driving in poor lit areas and parking in dark areas. These are just to mention but a few.
Due to the increase of the population in our cities, and increased congestion of citizens in the local amenities, crime has sporadically spurred .There’s a sudden strain on the local resources and unemployed youths have become an easy prey for this syndicate organized gangs, and through social learning, different tactics are shared everyday among the criminals thus change in the modus operandi. Different tactics are now being implored each and every day in terms of crimes. For car-jacking, recent annual crime reports in most countries in the world indicate a change in operations even after the rise of technology.
We ought to be aware of our environment every day. Personal safety starts with us and not by the state. Having extensive knowledge of where we go day and night decreases the chances of one being a suitable target to these offenders among the ones highlighted below:
- Driving into unfamiliar areas need to be negated
- Avoid driving in high crime areas
- Keep vehicles, and windows closed
- Parking in well-lit areas
- Being alert and of ones surrounding
- Notify police in case of a car jacking
- Avoid isolated ATMS and other amenities
Most notorious spots for car-jacking in Nairobi:
- Uhuru Highway
- Mombasa Road
- Nyangumi Road
- Enterprise Road
- Langata Road
- Ngong Road
- Outering /Jogoo Road Junction
- Thika Road
- Mbagathi Road/Mugo Kibiru junction
- Kangundo Road Near Supa Loaf
- Forest Road The dip before Muthaiga Shopping Centre
- Rabai Road
- Utalii College (Thika Road)
- Landhies Road
- Elgeyo Marakwet/ Valley Road junction
Useful Anti Car-Jacking Tips
The following are useful tips we can employ to reduce our chances of being car-jacked but also to raise, chances of safe release in the event of being car-jacked.
- Most car-jacking happens between 6.AM – 7.30A.M and 6PM – 9:30PM.
- Closely watch the people you meet at parties, bars or social places.
- When driving, always make some unusual turns or change your regular route to gauge if you are being followed. Pick up speed, slow down and drive twice or thrice over around-about. This could throw them off balance. Once the offenders know that you are aware chances of them giving up heighten.
- Car-jackers tend to be very sophisticated. They tend to watch you for some time and monitor your movements before striking .This could be people who drink in regular spots, business associates, neighbors or the hawkers you meet every day.
- Don’t be absent-minded when walking or driving. Always be on alert. A man crossing a street with his hands pocketed, with a huge jacket could be dangerous.
- Remember that car-jackers thrive on fear. Avoid going home if you have suspicion of unknown followers. Look for security vehicles usually stationed along various stops on the road and park next to them.
- When driving always make unusual turns or change your regular route to gauge if you have unknown followers. Pick-up speed, slow down and drive twice or thrice over around-about. This could throw them off-balance thus giving up.
- Most of the car-jackers work in syndicates, and particularly interested in specific cars, they tend to scout around the market suburbs. We ought to be aware of our surroundings at all times.
What to do when car-jacked?
- Do not panic and Never put up resistance.
- The first 10 seconds will determine your fate, so stick with whatever idea you have. If a gun as pointed to your head, put your arms in the air. There should be no sudden movements as this may be interpreted as resistance.
Carjacking is still a conundrum in our lives today. Let’s wake up and know it’s not a Kenyan thing or an African thing but a global cancer. Do you drive safe at night? What time do you drive off? We ought to ask ourselves these questions. Crime Conferences need to be brought into picture and bring all the stakeholders on board to tackle this vice.
Expertise especially in Africa through professional security bodies need tackle this act and give solutions. Let’s be honest it’s a crime that goes beyond our borders. Severe penalties need to be given to those found culpable thus promote deterrence and lessen recidivism. Our cities have great potential to become world class but in the right setting, therefore it’s important for both private and public security to put hands together and eradicate this contemporary issue.